a/n: i’m so sorry this took like a million years.
Michael didn’t get it. He didn’t understand what caused people to say what they’re saying right now. He sits, hunched over his phone with his eyebrows furrowed together, watching the replies stream in. Thousand after thousand, a hateful message over and over again.
wtf her band sucks.
michael why are you stooping so low lol.
bitch stay in your lane.
All he did was post a casual photo he’d taken with you after your band’s show. You had a large smile, clinging to Michael’s shoulders after he had surprised you by demanding you jumped onto his back before the picture was taken. He was laughing loudly with his eyes shut as he held your legs tightly for that split second he was afraid you would fall.
The picture gave off no vibe that you two were in a relationship. All his caption said was “got to see this badass preform tonight" with nothing else. No hearts, no smiley faces like he wanted to put. It wasn’t like you were in a relationship for that matter, but Michael couldn’t help the feeling of those clumsy butterflies in his stomach every time he saw or heard from you. He couldn’t really help the blushy feeling he got whenever he was mentioned in one of your interviews, the constant questioning of your relationship with him. Your answer was always, "Oh no, we’re just friends," As your band mates poked and giggled at you. And he kinda wished you’d say something different.
"Whatcha looking at?" Michael jumps at the sudden proximity of another person beside him, and looks up to see you trying to read his phone over his shoulder. You had changed out of your stage clothes and into an old sweatshirt and leggings, looking super cuddly and cute in Michael’s opinion. He quickly locks his phone, hiding the toxic messages from your curious gaze. You meet his eyes and pout, he didn’t normally keep secrets from you. "Michaaaeeeel-"
"Oh, stop whining!" He giggles, grabbing your waist and pulling you over the back of the couch and onto his lap as he began to tickle you. You laugh, squirming out of his grip and smoothing out your hair as you catch your breath. You try to frown at him, but fail as his pink lips spread into a large grin. "You’re no fun." He mutters playfully.
"Yes I am," You argue, sliding back closer and sitting cross legged in front of him. "So. The show. One being the worse and ten being the best, what did you think of it?"
"A ten of course," Michael rolls his eyes, flicking the tip of your nose softly. "Your guitar playing was a ten. Your vocals were amazing, as always. You’re amazing," And he doesn’t realize what he’s said until he catches himself staring fondly at you, and is quick to shake himself out of it and look away. "I mean-"
"Thanks, Mikey," You beam. "Seriously. Coming from you, that means a lot. I just wish we could hang out more, you know? I dunno like- whenever your watching a show, I feel more… nervous? It makes me push myself to do better, I think."
"I make you feel nervous?" He chuckles, feeling his cheeks tint slightly. Every part of you made him nervous all the time, and he would have never thought you’d feel that way around him.
"Well, you make me feel a lot of things, actually-" You begin to say, but your words catch in your mouth as the door burst open, and three other boys come stumbling to the couch, yelling loudly when they greet you. Michael sighs, watching his band mates smother you in hugs and "great show babe!" that get muffled by shirts and skin before everyone’s untangling limbs and finding a seat on the floor. It wasn’t until everyone was quiet did someone catch that something was going on.
"Were we interrupting something?" Ashton asks slowly, a knowing cheshire smile spread across his dimpled cheeks. You can’t help but blush, about to shrug and say maybe when Michael beats you to it.
"Not at all." He says cooly, not even bothering you a glance. And ouch, that kind of hurts because here you were, kind of about to poor your heart out to him. Like, how he’d been on your mind the past month while you were alone in countless hotel rooms, and like how your heart felt like it wanted to spring from your chest when he called and said he was in town and was coming to see your show. You wanted to tell him that you silently dedicated all your love songs to him, and pretended you were singing to him that night on stage.
"I um, I think I’ve gotta get going boys. Thank you so much for coming, I’m glad you guys could make it." You say, standing up and faking a yawn. You were too busy trying not to look at Michael to notice the disappointed frown on his face. He wanted to spend more time with you, alone, but it looked like that wouldn’t be happening.
"It was fun," Luke says, helping a sleepy Calum and Ashton to their feet before giving you a departing hug. You were left alone with Michael once again as the other three filed out the door. You glanced at the floor, hoping Michael would say something to relieve the awkward tension in the room.
"You’re still in town tomorrow, right? I’ll text you?" He asks. You nod. "Okay well… see you tomorrow? Hopefully?"
"See you tomorrow," You finally say, looking up and giving him a smile. Michael returns the grin and gives you a quick but tight hug before chasing after the boys.
Later that night once the boys got to their hotel, Michael laid in bed, still reading over the replies to his earlier picture. He didn’t want to believe the stuff people said about you, but so, so many people were saying it.
guys, she’s justing using him to get more famous, chill out.
its a stupid publicity stunt
michael why don’t you give her some tips bc she really needs them.
But the thing was, Michael actually liked you. He didn’t mind that you were famous as well, not nearly as popular as him, but you were getting there. He liked your band, and your music, and he liked just being around you. But if this is what people thought of you and him being together, was it really worth it? He didn’t want a relationship with you to destroy his band, or your band, so maybe he should just keep his feelings to himself.
Michael didn’t get a lot of sleep that night, and the next morning when he heard the boys greeting you in the hallway, it took a lot of effort for him to get out of bed. He felt bitter and tired, and just wanted to sleep and ignore the world today. He opened the door to his hotel room, and watched your eyes light up when you saw him.
"There you are, sleepy head," You smile, shuffling over shyly. "Do you wanna go out for breakfast somewhere?"
"Why, so you can be seen in public with me?" He asks sarcastically, rolling his eyes before glancing over your shoulder at the boys to see their reaction. Luke looked confused, and Ashton narrowed his eyes, because he understood what was going on. He wasn’t oblivious to the comments on Michael’s tweet, and knew how those things got to his best friend’s head. He shook his head warningly.
"N-no? I mean, I don’t care where we go I just-" You begin to stutter, turning red from embarrassment. Michael had never acted this way around you, and you wondered if he thought you were using him for publicity. You did like going out to do stuff with him, but only because you were touring, and you liked exploring new places. You hoped he didn’t take that the wrong way. "I just thought maybe-"
"People come into my life all the time, (y/n), always wanting to go out somewhere with me just to see their faces in magazines and tell people they hang out with me. I’m not stupid, I know what you’re doing." Michael accuses bitterly. he crosses his arms and glares down at you as your bottom lip begins to quiver, but you refuse to cry in front of him.
"Luke, let’s go get something to eat," Calum whispers behind you, taking the younger boy’s arm and dragging him back inside the room. Ashton follows hesitantly, feeling the responsibility to watch over his younger band mate to make sure he didn’t say or do something he’d regret. But he knew it was already too late.
"If you thought for a second that I’m the kind of person to use people like that," You snap, standing tall in his face. You can feel your eyes burn with oncoming tears, and the boy in front of you begins to waver. "You’re wrong. You’re dead, fucking wrong, and I can’t believe you’d ever accuse me of that. Just because I’m not as famous as you, you think you can assume I’m gonna stoop that low? I take pride in my fucking music and my band. You were my friend, Michael, but if you don’t have any trust in me, then I don’t think we can be friends anymore," You turn away, ready to march down the hall and back into the arms of your own friends to cry over your broken heart, when another thought pops in your mind. You spin around, stabbing an accusing finger to his chest. "And I even liked you! I had a fucking heart pounding crush on you, Michael Clifford, but you’re obviously too blind and full of yourself to notice. I’m done, I don’t even know what I saw in you in the first place. You’re full of shit."
You spin around, rushing down the hall to the elevator, furiously wiping at your eyes and covering your mouth to muffle your cries. “(Y/N), wait,” Michael calls weakly behind you, but the elevator doors shut, and your left alone with a shattered heart.
"Man, you seriously fucked up," Ashton mutters to Michael before disappearing into his own room. Michael looks to the floor, thinking back to the things he said. How could he be so stupid? He gets so caught up in the lies and rumors that he doesn’t even consider what might be true. He knew you were his friend. He didn’t know you liked him the way he liked you, but now he blew it. He blew his chance with the one girl who actually understood his life. What has he done? "If I were you, I’d go after her. But you really fucked up. You don’t deserve another chance."
And wow, that stung, but he knew it was true. Michael ran down the hall in his sweat pants, forget his shoes, he didn’t have time for that. He banged on the elevator button, but you were still on your way down, and he was on the top floor. He huffed impatiently, the door to the stairs catching his eye. Michael gave one last longing look to the slowly descending elevator, before pushing open the door and began his trek down thirteen flights of stairs.
Finally making it to the lobby, Michael was breathing harder than he thinks he ever has in his life. He looks towards the elevator to find it going back up, meaning you were already out. His eyes scan the room before he spots you storming out the front door. Michael calls your name, but you don’t hear it over the dull hum of the crowded lobby. He follows you out the door and down the street, still barefoot. The cold concrete make his feet sting, but he ignores it as he catches up to you. “(y/n)!”
You finally hear him and turn around in surprise, wondering how he had gotten down so fast. You were sure to press all the buttons in the elevator so he would at least be waiting ten minutes before it got back up to his floor. “How did you-“
"I ran down the stairs, but never mind that," Michael says, still out of breath. He grabs your arm to make sure you didn’t leave until he explained everything he wanted to. "(y/n), I’m- I’m so, so sorry. It’s just, it’s hard to trust people, you know? I meet people all the time who seem like good people until I catch on that every time we hang out, they always wanna go somewhere, always want to stop and pose for pictures, and I just. I dunno. I like you a lot, and I didn’t want to go through that disappointment with you. Everyone on twitter was saying you were using me and I know, I know I shouldn’t have let it get to my head but it did. And I’m so stupid, I know, I should have talked to you first but you just make me so nervous and I stayed up all night thinking about you and-"
"Michael," You interrupt him, trying to hide the growing smile on your lips. "You’re rambling."
"I was?" He pauses, feeling his face heat up. "Sorry. I’m sorry. There’s no excuse for what I said earlier. But I really, really do like you. Like like you. And I really hope you forgive me.”
"Of course I do," You reply softly. A small, hopeful smile lights up Michael’s face. "But what you said… It really hurt, you know? Like, I take so much pride in my music and my band. It’s my whole life! And when you said I was using you just for publicity for all of it, it just really hurt."
"I know, and I’m sorry," He repeats. "I know how it feels, my band is my life too. You don’t deserve any of the shit you get. You work so hard, I don’t understand why you aren’t topping charts yet."
"Don’t worry, we’ll get there," You grin playfully. "You’re holding our place for us." Michael laughs and shakes his head, his green eyes sparkling when he looks back down at you. Your breath catches in your throat at the sight, and you remember his words from a minute ago. I like like you.
"So um, do you really like like me?” You ask shyly, glancing down at Michael’s bare feet.
"Yeah," He answers slowly. You look up to see his cheeks are red. "I have for a long time. Do you like like me?”
"Yeah," You giggle. "We sound like eleven year olds."
"Way to ruin the moment," Michael huffs, trotting from foot to foot. "I’d really like to hear how much you like like me, but I think my toes are on the verge of falling off any second now, so, can we go back inside?”
"Of course, you idiot."
"Hey! I ran barefoot for you! That’s no way to speak to the person you like like."
"You’re so dumb. Hurry up inside so I can kiss you."